(Song Dedication to my readers: Light On by Maggie Rogers)
Revisiting A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle one year later.
I’ve been pondering a conundrum about The Art of Beingness. Beingness as defined by Tolle is the state of conscious awareness in the present moment.
So is this blog, my writing therapy, contrary to the handle I had chosen 14 months ago when I began this project? How am I “being” if I’m constantly reflecting on past events and thinking my thinkings the way I well…think (a vortex always pops up like the Tasmanian Devil from Bugs Bunny when I see the meaning of thinking in my mind’s eye). It can be voracious but at the same time when it’s done spinning it finds stillness much like cartoon Taz.
After much contemplation and a current revisiting of A New Earth, I think it is still an appropriate title and here is why I believe so.
Although my content often deals with life’s challenges (which we might also view as the negative forces in the game of life) rarely is their a preconceived notion when I sit down to record my experiences. I feel compelled to honour an event and so I sit down and write. And much to my surprise, a post typically cycles back around and somehow makes sense of the conundrum I had initially set out to decode. I believe my writing is positive and not what I worried it to be, a negative cycling of past events. In The Power of Now, Tolle lays out the human struggle with identification with time, so my dipping into the past was leaving me conflicted. He however, does give permission to explore past events if we can learn from them and use them to better inform our decisions made in the present moment. So my primary purpose for The Art of Beingness (yes, it’s a label but for reference it simplifies things) was to help me process and thus cultivate personal growth, or dare I say transformation, and in this endeavour it still serves it’s intention. So check that box.
Now, a secondary objective was to help me nurture a keener awareness in the little things often overlooked or just plain shoved back down in denial. My writing allowed me deeper contemplation and appreciation for what my once busy life had no space for. Since removing myself from teaching elementary school, the slower pace has provided multiple daily opportunities to engage more mindfully with my life. Gratitude has increased exponentially in the simplest things, sitting with a book in my lap and a cup of tea on the arm rest, a pair of slippers warming my feet, brushing the dog, shovelling copious amounts of snow, choosing healthy ingredients at the store to cook for my family, having meaningful human connections from a simple acknowledging smile of a passing stranger or a hashing out of a complex issue with a close friend or family member and everything in between, my yoga and meditation practices, kirtan and podcasts, “just five more minutes of snuggling” my little boy at bedtime, breathing expansively anytime my body feels tension because I am now aware of the imbalance sooner. I can feel all range of emotions which replaces the numbness I knew I could no longer carry and exist in. Although numbness is defined as no feeling, I can ascertain that it is the heaviest sensation I have had to bare, even weightier than grief. Perhaps the prolonged holding was what made it so cumbersome, like a cup of water initially insignificant, but when held for days or weeks and beyond its presence eventually becomes unbearable and unsustainable. Eventually it must fall or be dumped out to alleviate the holder.
The tertiary purpose of this blog was to communicate my situation to “my people” to keep them in the loop thus saving me from using excess energy in the verbal individual retelling of updates in my progress. Progress quantitatively defined by how much anxiety, how many migraines per week, how much chronic pain, what modalities were working to alleviate symptoms, how many days, weeks, months without a migraine? Again Eckhart’s work cautioned me, the more we talk about the illness the more power we give it. His recommendation, only talk about it when absolutely necessary but do not identify with it, do not become those labels if you wish to have any hope of alleviating your symptoms. It’s a fine line and when I re-read some of my posts I can see the role I was identifying with, the teacher, the trauma survivor, the woman with chronic pain and migraines. The more I write the more I see a subtle transformation shifting away from those assumed titles, as they aren’t serving my healing. Yes, they gave me permission to stop my unhealthy cycle of living. But now I choose to live in wellness apart from those roles, I no longer need permission for what path I am currently on. I am on it because it is what is best for me and my family.
And surprisingly, many of the people I believed would want to know about my progress have declined my invitation to read. This stung at first, but I recognized it was my wounded ego and abandonment issues that were triggered when I would learn that someone close to me wasn’t reading at all. I am able to take more of an observer role in this dynamic and understand their resistance is about them and not about me. My solution, I answer questions efficiently with little drama (I think!) but accept that some people in my life will not get, nor do they desire to know the deeper shit I am sifting through. There have been a few situations where someone does expect me to launch into every detail verbally for them and I decline politely and tell them to read my blog if they really want to know. Sometimes they defend their position and say well I don’t do that, like read blogs and stuff for which I say well I don’t do this, use copious amounts of energy to give you a special all-inclusive update on my well-being. We coo?
And the final outcome that was completely unexpected from sharing my writing is the connection to others, known or unknown. In sharing my perspective, I hear regularly from my readers, reassuring me I am not in this alone and they too find light and peace in their own lives through connecting to my experiences. Positive, nurturing human connection is number one…so maybe it shouldn’t be fourth on my list of whys!
But here is why It’s fourth. Because I needed to stop doing for others, which had been the operating formula for my whole life prior to this. It’s just a simple cherry on top that anyone of you would find solace in my words whether compassion, humour or other. For this energy you surround me in, I am truly grateful.
Am I contributing to the collective pain body…not if I believe my writing is helping me release it in a positive way and others are making positive connections to help lead a more intentional existence of presence. In closing I wanted to share a message one of my readers sent me recently. She wanted to thank me for sharing my work, especially around the importance of the present moment. She found herself on holiday with her family in a foreign country and was trying to capture the amazing scenery with a phone she was unfamiliar with, when she found herself getting frustrated she took pause and remembered what I had written about being in the present moment and immediately put the phone down and relaxed. She said the rest of the tour was amazing and thanked me for my advice! I was completely humbled that she felt I had contributed to this positive experience all the way on the other side of the planet. It is her courage to reach back to me and share her own triumph that fuels my inspiration and provides me affirmation that whatever this is, The Art of Beingness, serves a greater purpose beyond my own healing, which in and of itself I recognize to be significant. My ego wants to tell you how I was like her Eckhart Tolle! Sorry ego, not quite. I am just me. And I am so fine with whoever that is in any given moment:)
So Dear Readers, I will continue to leave the light on if you too will leave the light on. I invite you to reach out to me if you ever feel so compelled. The conscious collective energy is what will heal our wounds and ultimately heal this world. With gratitude and love, Sarah.